Between the election and the inauguration in the United States is a period known unpoetically as the “transition.” Our own transition feels like a categorical shift, a break in the paradigm. It is closer to Gramsci’s definition of the interregnum – “the crisis…that the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” The synonyms here don’t fit: progression, shift, evolution. Antonyms feel more like the truth: decline, cease, or decrease.
Historically, the interregnum is also one of indeterminate length and reads more like a state of exception in which normal operations are suspended and the outcome is unclear. Though the outcome of the elections are more or less clear, the transition our state is currently in is far from determined.The state of transitions is not necessarily finite, or even countable. A state of transition in chemical terms is a moment that offers the greatest source of potential energy or transformation. This interregnum in the nation-state is transempirical: beyond experiential knowledge. The beyond, also, of empire. We go across, through; we change thoroughly. We transition.
The proper posture here is the question, followed by the speculation, which at least admits a certain amount of uncertainty. However, we must begin to propose potential answers, potential paths forward to begin our own transition because the “old” does not die on its own, but through the emergence of alternate routes out. These too will be beyond documented knowledge. A progression, shift, or evolution. These possible futures won’t be a single-authored solution, but a scattering of them, a swelling of collectives until a new form is born.
For this renewed series of Futures, we will ask an ongoing series of questions on transitions within art and politics across platforms meant to prompt responses in the form of comments on this post, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, with commissions to follow. We are seeking speculative responses, concrete proposals and contemplative meditations in any form. All responses will be gathered together in a final text and can be sent to james(at)temporaryartreview.com.
Prompt: Post election, where does the art world go from here?
Speculations in comments.